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IT’S CHRISTMAS IN SEPTEMBER

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AND GUESS WHO’S BACK

[SCENE: the “nice” mall in town, you know, the one that has some fancy term for mall like “Fashion Place”]

LORD & TAYLOR EMPLOYEE ON BREAK: Did you hear that?

COACH EMPLOYEE, ALSO ON BREAK: Some kind of commotion down in the food court.

[a mall security robot whizzes by, beeping concernedly]

EMPLOYEE #1: Let’s go check it out.

[in between the Banh Mi shop and the macaron atelier, a crowd has formed around an unseen figure]

VOICE FROM BEHIND CROWD: WHY WAIT UNTIL CHRISTMAS, I SAY! THE MOST MAGICAL TIME OF THE YEAR IS ALREADY UPON US!

EMPLOYEE #2: What’s going on?

SHOPPER: Some crazy dude in a Santa outfit is just hollering and giving out gifts.

EMPLOYEE #2: That’s weird.

SHOPPER: Yeah, what’s even weirder is, his Santa outfit is, like, gold and black?

EMPLOYEE #1: Ah, shit.

SHOPPER: What?

EMPLOYEE #1: I know what this is.

EMPLOYEE #2: What?

EMPLOYEE #1: You know how I used to work at Radio Shack? Over in the shitty mall, before it closed?

EMPLOYEE #2: Yeah, but what does that have to do with-

EMPLOYEE #1: I know this guy. He used to hang out there all the time. Drove everyone nuts. He was living in the ceiling plenum above Auntie Anne’s for a while, and he figured out how to ferment the dipping sauce. He’d stumble down loaded and rant to the Sunglass Hut people about Neil Armstrong and shit. Security’d throw him out, but he’d just show up again the next day, fired up on “Pretzel Wine” again.

EMPLOYEE #2: What’s he doing in a place like this, then? I mean, this place is fancy.

SECURITY ROBOT: [in an upper-class British accent] You are hereby requested to cease and desist all unauthorized and off-schedule displays of holiday cheer on Fashion Place grounds, pursuant to-

EMPLOYEE #1, sighing: That’s not going to work. I’ll go talk to him. [pushes way through crowd, where the commotion has continued]

PURDUE SANTA, jovially: - and a happy new year, young man!

CHILD: [walks off, side-by-side with his new Goldendoodle, who has been trained to ride a hoverboard upright]

EMPLOYEE #1: The hell are you doing, man?

PURDUE SANTA: MEEEEEERRY CHRISTMAS, YOUNG MA-

EMPLOYEE #1: Dude, it’s September 12th.

PURDUE SANTA: WHEN LIFE IS GOOD, THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT ABOUNDS REGARDLESS OF SEASON!

EMPLOYEE #1: Since when is life so good? You once hollowed out one of those rental motorized animal scooters like a Tauntaun and slept in it for a week. We thought you were dead.

PURDUE SANTA: MEDICALLY I WAS! But that’s all changed now! OH, TANNENBROHM, DU KANNST MIR SEHR GEFALLEN-

EMPLOYEE #1: Ah, that’s what this is about.

PURDUE SANTA: A JOYOUS MIRACLE! Here, you look like you could use some cheer. Go buy yourself something nice. [stuffs wads of cash in employee’s hands]

EMPLOYEE #1: These are pre-war Iraqi dinars.

PURDUE SANTA: MILLIONS OF THEM

EMPLOYEE #1: These haven’t been in use since like, 2003.

PURDUE SANTA: NEITHER HAS BOILERMAKER FOOTBALL, BUT IT’S ALL COMING BACK TO ME NOW. Hey, that reminds me, I’ve hired a special guest as a treat for you today. [turns to crowd] Ladies and gentlemen, the incomparable Celine Dion!

CELINE DION: Allo.

EMPLOYEE #2: What

PURDUE SANTA: I CAN DO ANYTHING NOW, HAVE YOU EVER WANTED TO FLY A FIGHTER JET?

EMPLOYEE #1: You’re two games into a new coach’s tenure and you’re 1-1. Don’t you think this is a bit, um... over the top?

PURDUE SANTA: We dominated Ohio!

SHOPPER: You know that’s the MAC school, and not the Big Ten-

PURDUE SANTA: The last time a team from Ohio was dominated like that, it was Clemson in the playoff, and they won the national title the next week!

SHOPPER: Okay, you’re definitely obscuring a key distinction here

EMPLOYEE #2: Also, the last time a team from Ohio was dominated like that was Saturday night in Columbus, I’m just sayin’

PURDUE SANTA: IT WAS A NATIONALLY TELEVISED GAME

EMPLOYEE #1: It was on Fox Sports 1.

PURDUE SANTA: That’s a major network!

SHOPPER: I have a show on FS1.

OTHER SHOPPER: I, too, have a show on FS1.

BANH MI SHOP EMPLOYEE, in background: Hey, keep it down out there! We’re filming our live show on Fox Sports 1!

EMPLOYEE #1: Look, I’ll concede you guys looked pretty good this weekend, but you lost your opening game-

PURDUE SANTA: In an NFL stadium!

EMPLOYEE #2: It was not against an NFL team, you’re doing that thing again-

PURDUE SANTA: The Cardinals! They almost won Super Bowl XLIII!

EMPLOYEE #2: That is not the same Cardina-

PURDUE SANTA: 11 World Series titles!

SHOPPER: Not even the same sport.

PURDUE SANTA: Key advisors to the Pope!

EMPLOYEE #2: Boy, it is hard to pin this guy down.

EMPLOYEE #1: You’ve never tried to tackle him in a Sam Goody when he’s drunk and covered in pretzel butter. Anyways, Santa, listen. I’m happy you’re feeling good about life. You do look healthier and smell much better than I’m used to seeing from you. I just think you’re setting yourself up for disappointment getting this riled up this early in a new era. Your style of play is definitely improved. You’re aggressive and fun so far, and I couldn’t be happier for you. Heck, with how bad Mizzou’s looked on defense this year, you could be looking at a winning record after Week 3, and I know that’s something you haven’t had in years. I just want you to pace yourself. You’re playing Michigan in Week 4, you know? It’s a long season.

PURDUE SANTA: [climbing into Lamborghini] [slides sunglasses on] I’ve got toys to deliver, nerds. [screeches out, driving directly through Sephora]

[the employees step out through the wrecked store, onto the curb, and watch him disappear onto the horizon]

EMPLOYEE #2: I guess there’s no accounting for irrational optimism in college football.

EMPLOYEE #1: Hey, let’s hope he’s actually right. It’d be great to have a Big Ten free of dirtbag weirdos for a while.

VOICE FROM STORM DRAIN: Pssst. Halloween comes before Christmas.

EMPLOYEE #1: My break’s almost over.

EMPLOYEE #2: Did you hear a voice from the drain just now?

EMPLOYEE #1: Nope, nothing. Let’s go.

PISCATAWISE: We all get Big Ten TV money down here.